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Sexual Nonconformism

Peter Laslett, 24 January 1980

Wanton Wenches and Wayward Wives: Peasants and Illicit Sex in Early 17th Century England 
by G.R. Quaife.
Croom Helm, 283 pp., £11.50, July 1980, 0 7099 0062 7
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A History of Myddle 
by Richard Gough, edited by Peter Razzell.
Caliban, 184 pp., £9, October 1980, 0 904573 14 1
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... history of English life which has been re-edited and regrettably shortened by Peter Razzell. In Gough’s History of Myddle we have a unique contemporary account of all that went forward in a Cheshire parish and its surrounding district in the fifty or so years before about 1700. Here is an example of how the man writes: ‘This ...

Show People

Hugh Barnes, 21 February 1985

So Much Love 
by Beryl Reid.
Hutchinson, 195 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 09 155730 5
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Knock wood 
by Candice Bergen.
Hamish Hamilton, 223 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 9780241113585
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... Both these books sport impressive supporting casts, which run into the glittering hundreds. Sir Richard Attenborough is the common factor. Bergen was his co-star in a film called The Sand Pebbles, shot on location in the Far East. Out of hours, while the other actors, Steve McQueen amongst them, were busy getting drunk and chasing women, Dickie (bless ...

Joe, Jerry and Bomber Blair

Owen Hatherley: Jonathan Meades, 7 March 2013

Museum without Walls 
by Jonathan Meades.
Unbound, 446 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 908717 18 4
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... Deyan Sudjic and Peter Cook, celebrating the postmodern architects Campbell Zogolovitch Wilson Gough – but since then his medium has been television. Meades has never been a fully paid-up architectural correspondent; he argues in Museum without Walls that taking up such a job helped destroy Ian Nairn, the pugnacious, melancholic writer and broadcaster ...

Stanley and the Women

Tony Gould, 25 July 1991

Stanley: The Making of an African Explorer 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 411 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 09 462420 8
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Stanley: Sorcerer’s Apprentice 
by Frank McLynn.
Constable, 499 pp., £25, January 1991, 0 09 470220 9
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Dark Safari: The Life behind the Legend of Henry Morton Stanley 
by John Bierman.
Hodder, 401 pp., £17.95, January 1991, 0 340 50977 5
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... of William Grant Stairs and memoirs of Alice Pike Barney’; he also pays generous tribute to Richard Hall’s earlier biography, ‘a model of hard-nosed and painstaking investigation’. Hall was the first to reveal Stanley’s secret engagement to Alice Pike. Unfortunately, his excitement over this discovery led him to make the tactical error of ...

Johnson’s Business

Keith Walker, 7 August 1980

A Dictionary of the English Language 
by Samuel Johnson.
Times, 2558 pp., £45, June 1980, 0 7230 0228 2
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Dictionary Johnson: Samuel Johnson’s Middle Years 
by James Clifford.
Heinemann, 372 pp., £10, February 1980, 0 434 13805 3
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... Cosmologia Sacra, William Derham’s Physico-Theology, Thomas Burnett’s Theory of the Earth, Richard Bentley’s Sermons on the Boyle Foundations, George Cheyne’s Philosophical Principles, Henry More’s Antidote against Atheism, Matthew Hale’s Primitive Origination of Mankind, William Camden’s Remains, Newton’s Optics and works by Sir Kenelm ...

Let us breakfast in splendour

Charles Nicholl: Francis Barber, 16 July 2015

The Fortunes of Francis Barber: The True Story of the Jamaican Slave Who Became Samuel Johnson’s Heir 
by Michael Bundock.
Yale, 282 pp., £20, May 2015, 978 0 300 20710 1
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... in about 1742, and was brought to England in 1750 by his first master, or ‘owner’, Colonel Richard Bathurst. He was probably baptised in England, though no record of this has been found. At Orange River, the sugar plantation where he spent his childhood, he was called Quashey, a very common slave name which he exchanged for a very ordinary-sounding ...

Carnival Time

Peter Craven, 18 February 1988

The Remake 
by Clive James.
Cape, 223 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 224 02515 5
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In the Land of Oz 
by Howard Jacobson.
Hamish Hamilton, 380 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 241 12110 8
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... James show exhibited to us the familiar landmarks of our Australian heritage (ex-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, Les Murray himself) defamiliarised by his own innocent view of the Australian subject or perhaps simply by the deficiencies of his Australian team of researchers. Whatever the case, the Australian-made James show was easy to resist because it made ...

Bob Hawke’s Australia

Michael Davie, 6 October 1983

... great physical presence and even greater political cunning? The answer, when it finally came, was Gough Whitlam. He was a man of commanding height, a middle-class barrister like Menzies, a skilled debater, supremely self-confident, a platform speaker who could rouse even an Australian audience. He became Labor leader in 1967 and Prime Minister in ...


Tom Nairn: Australian Blues, 18 November 2004

... fallen apart into Lilliputian factions. Even worse, the elder statesman of the Labor Party, Gough Whitlam, appeared to counsel patience on his protégé Mark Latham, who recently became the Labor leader. The gaffer prognosticated that a full two sessions of zombiedom might have to elapse before the progressives get another chance. Had not he himself had ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... down and going down, though there’s no doubt which one the audience prefers. 22 January. Take Richard Buckle’s autobiography, The Most Upsetting Woman, out of the London Library in order to refresh my memory of the Diaghilev exhibition in 1954. Buckle had organised it and put it on first at the Edinburgh Festival (a much smarter venue then than it is ...

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